SEOUL, Police have opened a probe into a libel case against the culprit of the mysterious 1987 mid-air bombing of a South Korean passenger jet, officials said Thursday.
The families of the victims filed a complaint with the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office on Monday accusing the former North Korean terrorist, Kim Hyon-hui, of calling them pro-North Korean leftists in four interviews with local media since 2008.
They also accused her of obstructing a civic group's activities seeking the truth behind the explosion of Korean Air Flight 858, which killed all 115 people on board.
The Seocho Police Station in southern Seoul, which took on the case on Wednesday, said it plans to get statements soon from the plaintiffs.
Pastor Shin Seong-kook, who represents the families, told Yonhap News Agency that police must call Kim in for questioning and have her stand in front of TV cameras.
"She must take questions from the public since doubts have long remained about the incident, which was never fully investigated," he said.
The South Korean government's probe concluded Kim and another North Korean agent planted timed bombs on the plane and exploded it in airspace near Myanmar.
Kim made a failed attempt to commit suicide shortly before being arrested. She was sentenced to death at a Seoul court in 1990 and pardoned later that year. She is now living in South Korea as a housewife.
Then, North Korea strongly denied the charges that led the U.S. to blacklist the North as a terror-sponsoring state in 1988.
The families have long raised suspicions that the incident may have been arranged by the South Korean government two months ahead of the presidential elections.
In 2004, the liberal Roh Moo-hyun government reexamined the case but did not reverse the conclusion. The families rejected the result and called for reinvestigation.
Source: Yonhap News Agency